EP0693916B1 - Method and apparatus for moving disabled persons - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for moving disabled persons Download PDF

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Publication number
EP0693916B1
EP0693916B1 EP95907104A EP95907104A EP0693916B1 EP 0693916 B1 EP0693916 B1 EP 0693916B1 EP 95907104 A EP95907104 A EP 95907104A EP 95907104 A EP95907104 A EP 95907104A EP 0693916 B1 EP0693916 B1 EP 0693916B1
Authority
EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
winch
cable
apparatus
slider
mast
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Expired - Lifetime
Application number
EP95907104A
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Other versions
EP0693916A1 (en
Inventor
David Edmund Talbot Garman
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Mangar International Ltd
Original Assignee
Mangar International Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to GB9402656A priority Critical patent/GB9402656D0/en
Priority to GB9402656 priority
Application filed by Mangar International Ltd filed Critical Mangar International Ltd
Priority to PCT/GB1995/000221 priority patent/WO1995021600A1/en
Publication of EP0693916A1 publication Critical patent/EP0693916A1/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of EP0693916B1 publication Critical patent/EP0693916B1/en
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical
Application status is Expired - Lifetime legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT, PERSONAL CONVEYANCES, OR ACCOMMODATION SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR PATIENTS OR DISABLED PERSONS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G7/00Beds specially adapted for nursing; Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons
    • A61G7/10Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons, e.g. special adaptations of hoists thereto
    • A61G7/1001Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons, e.g. special adaptations of hoists thereto specially adapted for specific applications
    • A61G7/1003Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons, e.g. special adaptations of hoists thereto specially adapted for specific applications mounted on or in combination with a bath-tub
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT, PERSONAL CONVEYANCES, OR ACCOMMODATION SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR PATIENTS OR DISABLED PERSONS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G5/00Chairs or personal conveyances specially adapted for patients or disabled persons, e.g. wheelchairs
    • A61G5/10Parts, details or accessories
    • A61G5/1043Cushions specially adapted for wheelchairs
    • A61G5/1045Cushions specially adapted for wheelchairs for the seat portion
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT, PERSONAL CONVEYANCES, OR ACCOMMODATION SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR PATIENTS OR DISABLED PERSONS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G5/00Chairs or personal conveyances specially adapted for patients or disabled persons, e.g. wheelchairs
    • A61G5/10Parts, details or accessories
    • A61G5/1056Arrangements for adjusting the seat
    • A61G5/1059Arrangements for adjusting the seat adjusting the height of the seat
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT, PERSONAL CONVEYANCES, OR ACCOMMODATION SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR PATIENTS OR DISABLED PERSONS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G7/00Beds specially adapted for nursing; Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons
    • A61G7/10Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons, e.g. special adaptations of hoists thereto
    • A61G7/1025Lateral movement of patients, e.g. horizontal transfer
    • A61G7/1026Sliding sheets or mats
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT, PERSONAL CONVEYANCES, OR ACCOMMODATION SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR PATIENTS OR DISABLED PERSONS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G7/00Beds specially adapted for nursing; Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons
    • A61G7/10Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons, e.g. special adaptations of hoists thereto
    • A61G7/104Devices carried or supported by
    • A61G7/1044Stationary fixed means, e.g. fixed to a surface or bed
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT, PERSONAL CONVEYANCES, OR ACCOMMODATION SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR PATIENTS OR DISABLED PERSONS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G2200/00Information related to the kind of patient or his position
    • A61G2200/30Specific positions of the patient
    • A61G2200/34Specific positions of the patient sitting
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT, PERSONAL CONVEYANCES, OR ACCOMMODATION SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR PATIENTS OR DISABLED PERSONS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G7/00Beds specially adapted for nursing; Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons
    • A61G7/10Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons, e.g. special adaptations of hoists thereto
    • A61G7/1013Lifting of patients by
    • A61G7/1021Inflatable cushions
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10STECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10S414/00Material or article handling
    • Y10S414/134Handicapped person handling

Abstract

Apparatus and method for transferring disabled persons horizontally on a slider (11) from a first supporting surface to an adjacent supporting surface by using a cable winch (10) to apply tension to a cable (15) to drag the slider (11) (and the person thereon) from one surface to the other. The cable and/or the winch is/are relocatable to drag the slider substantially horizontally in the opposite direction. Either or both of the supporting surfaces may be on platforms (beds, seats etc) supported by lifting devices (39, 60, 63) and bridging means (42) may be provided on the platforms. The apparatus can be integrated into a bed, trolley, wheelchair or a medical, nursing or sanitary installation.

Description

  • This invention concerns a method and an apparatus for moving disabled persons.
  • It is known to use a mechanical hoist to raise and lower a seat or sling on which a person is supported to raise that person; and to move the hoist to a support so that the person can be shifted from the seat or sling onto that support.
  • Problems arise where such a person needs to be lifted in confined spaces which preclude access for such hoists because of their bulk and operational space requirements.
  • Furthermore, such hoists are of only partial assistance in moving such persons because they have to be manhandled onto and off the hoist's seats or slings. Such manhandling often gives rise to further problems e.g. pain or even injury to such persons, and excessive efforts by the operatives can cause them injuries.
  • In particular, such hoists have a selection of slings for different functions to maintain the safety and comfort of the occupant. Choosing the correct one and loading a person onto the hoist can cause anxiety to the occupant and to the operator. Hoists require under-furniture clearance which necessitates the use of small castors. This in turn leads to difficulty in manoeuvreing the loaded hoist. The occupant has to be restrained from swaying when moving. Essentially this type of equipment is designed solely for use by persons having no ability to assist in their own transfer.
  • There is known from GB-2139487A apparatus of a kind which includes a twin-cable winch (referred to as a "transferring device"), a slider (referred to as a "sheet") and connector means to connect the winch cables to the slider, for use in transferring a person from a first supporting surface (of a "bed") to a second supporting surface (of a "trolley").
  • The known apparatus enables a disabled person to be transferred from a first supporting surface to a second supporting surface by a method comprising the steps of:-
  • (a) locating the winch cables to extend across the second supporting surface to the first supporting surface;
  • (b) connecting said winch cables to one margin of the slider;
  • (c) actuating the winch to apply tension to the cables to drag the slider from the first to the second supporting surface carrying said person therewith.
  • To reverse the transfer, the the cable winch has to be demounted and relocated so that the winch cables can be extended across the first supporting surface to the second supporting surface and be re-attached to a or the slider so that actuation of the winch applies tension to the cables to drag the slider back onto the first supporting surface. The problem of manhandling the cable winch for mounting and remounting thereof is inherent in this apparatus.
  • In order to reduce said problems the present invention provides a method of transferring a disabled person from a first supporting surface to a second supporting surface comprising the steps of:-
  • (a) locating a winch cable to extend across the second supporting surface to the first supporting surfaces, and inserting a flexible slider between said person and the first supporting surface;
  • (b) connecting said winch cable to one margin of the slider;
  • (c) actuating a winch to apply tension to the cable to drag the slider from the first to the second surface carrying said person therewith;
  • and characterised in that prior to step (a) a mast assembly, which is pivotally mounted on a support on which one of said supporting surfaces is provided, is positioned so that the cable can be extended from the mast assembly towards the edge of the second supporting surface remote from the first supporting surface.
  • The method may include the subsequent steps of adjusting the position of the mast assembly, relocating the winch cable to extend across the first supporting surface to the second supporting and re-attaching the cable to the opposite margin of the slider; and actuating the winch to apply tension to the cable to drag the slider back onto the first supporting surface.
  • The invention provides apparatus constructed and arranged for performing the method and including a cable winch, a slider and connector means to connect the cable to the slider, together with a support comprising a platform which provides a supporting surface and characterised in that the apparatus further comprises a mast assembly pivotally mounted on the support so as to be swingable to vary the direction of pull of the cable by the cable winch.
  • The invention more specifically provides apparatus for moving disabled persons, comprising a cable winch secured, or adapted to be secured, to or adjacent to a support so that a cable of the winch can be extended across a platform provided on the support for connection to a slider which can be inserted between a disabled person and a surface on which said person is supported, and a connector to releasably connect an end of the slider to the cable so that operation of the winch drags said slider across said surface and onto said platform to transfer the person from the surface to the platform, and characterised in that the winch is carried by a mast assembly which is pivotally connected to said support so as to be movable to vary the direction of pull of the cable.
  • The mast assembly preferably comprises a mast and a jib extending from a free end of the mast, and the cable is preferably extendable from and retractable towards a free end of the jib.
  • The invention further provides apparatus for moving disabled persons in the form of a support providing a platform on which a person can sit or lie, and comprising a winch mounted on a mast assembly pivotally mounted at one end of the support, the mast assembly comprising a jib mounted on a free end of a mast to extend towards the other end of the support, said winch having a cable which is extendable and retractable to and from a free end of the jib; said mast assembly being pivotally movable to swing the jib over the platform from one side of the platform to the other side of the platform.
  • The support may be in the form of a bed, wheelchair, stretcher or trolley, and the platform provides a supporting surface on which a person can sit, recline or lie. The winch may be releasably connected to the mast, jib and/or the platform by mounting thereon.
  • The winch may be mounted on the jib, or the winch may be mounted on the mast and at least the free end of the jib may be provided with cable guide means.
  • Either or both of the mast and the jib may be extendable.
  • The winch is preferably electrically driven, remotely controllable, and operated from a low voltage DC supply. The supply is preferably provided by a portable, rechargeable unit.
  • The flexible slider preferably has a beam along at least one margin to receive the drag force applied by the connector and to distribute said force to said margin.
  • The undersurface of the slider preferably has a lower co-efficient of friction than the upper surface.
  • The apparatus preferably further includes lifting means to raise and lower the platform.
  • The lifting means is preferably operated from the or a low voltage, portable, rechargeable unit, which is preferably stowed in or carried by the apparatus.
  • The unit may include or power a compressor, and the lifting means is preferably powered by compressed air from the compressor.
  • One embodiment of the apparatus for moving disabled persons is in the form of a wheelchair comprising a seat, a slider, a powered lifting means for raising and lowering the seat, a powered leg support device attachable to a front end of the seat, a powered lifting device separable from the wheelchair, a cable winch, and means to connect the cable of the winch to the slider, and a remote control unit is provided to selectively energise said lifting means, the leg support device, the lifting device and said winch for use in raising a person on the lifting device and then drawing the raised person on the slider from the lifting device onto the seat by means of the cable winch.
  • The backrest and/or a chassis of the wheelchair preferably provides stowage, e.g. for the or a slider and ancillary devices.
  • The lifting means, leg support device and lifting device are preferably pneumatically operated.
  • The auxiliary lifting device may comprise a plurality of pneumatically inflatable bags secured one on top of the other, each bag including internal connection means to limit separation of an upper panel from a lower panel of the bag.
  • The apparatus preferably further includes a pressure sensitive control unit constructed and arranged to receive a single compressed air supply and to distribute the compressed air sequentially to a plurality of outlets which, in use, are connected to the bags, so that, starting with the lowermost, each bag is inflated in turn to a predetermined pressure and is pneumatically isolated from the supply before inflation of the next above bag commences.
  • The lifting device, when deflated, is preferably sufficiently flexible and thin to be slid or eased under a disabled person; and preferably provides sufficient lift to raise the uppermost surface of the device approximately to the level of the seat in its lowermost condition.
  • The seat or platform is preferably provided with bridging means, e.g. flank panels, pivotally mounted on the sides of the seat or platform. The seat may also have a backrest and optionally armrests pivotally mounted on the backrest.
  • Guide means for guiding the cable is preferably provided on or in the backrest and the flank panels of the support.
  • The mast is preferably movable to shift the jib to either side of the seat or platform, and is preferably extendable and retractable to vary the spacing between the jib and the platform or seat.
  • The mast and jib may be provided with cable guide means. The mast is preferably driven to move pivotally by a low voltage, remotely controllable motor. A further motor may be provided to extend and retract the mast.
  • In another embodiment the apparatus for moving disabled persons is in the form of a bed or trolley comprising a platform, a winch mounted on a mast assembly pivotally mounted at one end of the platform, the mast assembly comprising a jib mounted on a free end of a mast to extend towards the other end of the platform, said winch having a cable which is extendable from and retractable to and a free end of the jib; said mast assembly being pivotally movable to swing the jib from one side of the platform to the other side of the platform.
  • The invention will be described further, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings wherein:-
  • FIGURES 1, 2 and 3 show an embodiment of apparatus of the invention in the form of a wheelchair in side, front and rear elevation respectively;
  • FIGURES 4, 5 and 6 show the arrangement of the apparatus without and with an auxiliary leg lifting device, respectively, for use in transferring a person from a wheelchair to a bed;
  • FIGURE 7 is a view similar to FIGURE 4 showing the arrangement for transferring a person from the bed to the wheelchair;
  • FIGURE 8 shows the arrangement of the wheelchair for drawing a person rearwardly onto the wheelchair;
  • FIGURES 9 and 10 show the arrangement of the apparatus together with an auxiliary lifting device, in two stages, for lifting a person from a floor and transferring the person to the wheelchair;
  • FIGURE 11 shows an auxiliary control device in conjunction with the auxiliary lifting device;
  • FIGURE 12 is a schematic pneumatic/electrical diagram of the control device;
  • FIGURE 13 is a circuit diagram of a compressor and power unit of the wheelchair;
  • FIGURE 14 shows a diagrammatic general arrangement of the control system with some functional parts of the second embodiment.
  • FIGURE 15 shows a rear perspective view of a second embodiment of the apparatus in the form of a hospital bed;
  • FIGURE 16 shows the bed with a trolley alongside for transfer of a person to the bed, and
  • FIGURES 17 and 18 show modifications of the winch mounting applicable to the first and second embodiments.
  • Referring to FIGURES 1, 2 and 3, the first embodiment of the apparatus includes a cable winch 10 and a slider 11. The winch has a British Standard SELV motor, e.g. a 12 volt DC motor 12 to drive, via a gear 13, a drum 14 on which is wound its cable 15. The gear 13 includes a manually or remotely actuable release mechanism (not shown) to permit cable to be unwound manually from the drum, or the winch may be reversible to unwind cable from the drum.
  • The slider 11 includes a flexible panel 16 (preferably padded or inflatable to form a thin cushion) having a beam 17 in a pocket 18 at each end or each side. Adjacent a mid-part of each beam there is a keyhole or other shaped opening 19 through which a connector 20, such as a knob on one end of the cable, may be inserted so as to be trapped against the beam.
  • To facilitate sliding movement of the slider 11, the undersurface has a much lower co-efficient of friction than the upper surface.
  • Although in the example shown the slider has pockets 18 at each end, further pockets may be provided along each side to receive lateral beams for supporting the panel in those instances where the slider has to traverse a significant gap between supports units. Alternatively, the slider may be pneumatically inflatable so as to have sufficient beam strength to bridge significant gaps.
  • The beams are preferably removable to facilitate both removal of the slider from beneath a person, and the laundering of the panel.
  • The apparatus includes the wheelchair 30A in which the seat 31, together with a backrest 38, is supported on lifting means 39 in the form of an internally mechanically stabilised pneumatically powered bellows. The base of the lifting means 39 is located on a wheeled chassis 40, which chassis provides stowage for an underslung electrical power supply and air compressor unit 41. The chassis has front and rear castor wheels 28 provided with brakes 29.
  • Each side of the seat 31 has bridging means, in the form of a flank panel 42, detachably and pivotally connected thereto, and each side of the backrest has an armrest 43 detachably and pivotally connected thereto. The underside of each armrest has a slot 44 therein to receive the free end 45 of the flank panel at that side of the wheelchair. During transfer, the armrest proximal to the bed is swung up and rearwards to alongside the backrest to serve as a transverse extension of the latter, and the flank panel is swung down to bridge between the seat and the mattress 25.
  • The wheelchair is provided with guide means in the form of cable guiding ports 46 in the centres of portions of the flank panels and backrest generally just above a seat level.
  • The rear of the backrest carries stowage (such as a bin, trough or rack) 47 to receive parts of the apparatus and ancillary devices.
  • The wheelchair 30A has a mast and jib assembly or structure 50 mounted on a raised rear frame extension 48 of the seat, and the backrest 38 has a frame (not shown except for parts 49 exposed to form handles) which is fixed to the frame of the seat.
  • The structure 50 enables a single mounting 51 to be provided on the structure to secure the winch 10, and gives much greater freedom for moving a person in conditions wherein a support unit is disposed so that access to one side thereof is precluded, e.g. where a bed is disposed alongside a wall, or where the support unit is a bathlift in a bath against a wall.
  • The structure 50 comprises a mast 52 mounted for moving about an elevated central fore and aft axis on the seat frame extension 48 to the rear of an arcuate rack 53 centred on said axis and fixed to the extension 48; a worm 54, which has a drive motor 27, is mounted on the mast to engage the rack 53, and a jib 55 forwardly cantilevered from the upper end of the mast. The structure is provided with cable guide means, such as pulley wheels 56, so that the cable 15 runs from the winch up the mast and along or within the jib to the free end of the jib.
  • In use for transferring a person to or from a bed 24, the wheelchair 30A is brought to abut one side of the bed and the seat 31 is raised or lowered by means of the lifting means 39 until is is approximately level with the top of the mattress 25, before the armrest 43 and flank panel 41 proximal thereto are swung, respectively up and down, to provide clear access between the seat and the bed. For transferring a person from the seat to the bed, the worm 54 is then driven to swing the mast down until it overlies the bed and locates the jib 55 at the other side of the bed, remote from the wheelchair. The release mechanism of the gear 13 is actuated and sufficient cable 15 is drawn from the winch and across the bed to enable the connector to be engaged with the slider. These operations may be performed before the armrest and flank panel are moved up and down. Thereafter the winch is operated to draw the slider 11 (in the direction arrowed in FIGURES 4 and 5) from the seat onto the bed. For transferring a person in the reverse direction, the above procedure is modified in that the worm 54 is driven in the reverse direction until the jib is located to the side of the wheelchair remote from the bed, and the cable 15 is run through the port 46 in the flank panel at that side and across the seat before being connected to the slider, as shown in FIGURE 7.
  • The example of slider shown is intended to be sat on by the person being moved. Longer versions of the slider with lateral beams may be employed for shifting a person in a prone condition between elongate support units such as beds, trolleys, stretchers or operating tables, as indicated in broken lines in FIGURE 6.
  • From FIGURES 1 and 4 to 7, it can be seen that the cable leaves or approaches the slider generally in a plane which passes through the ports 46 in the flank panels and backrest.
  • To enable a person to be drawn rearwards into the wheelchair, e.g. from a stool or lifting device (not shown in FIGURE 11), the wheelchair 30A has supplementary guide pulleys 57 mounted externally at the junction of the mast and jib and on one side of the mast level with the port 46 in the backrest so that, as shown in FIGURE 8, the cable 15 can be run back and down from the free end of the jib, and forwards from the mast through said port and across the seat to the front of the wheelchair.
  • To enable the jib 55 to be moved towards and away from the seat 31 for varying the headroom over the seat and to span beds, trolleys or baths of different widths, the mast 52 is of telescopic form and has a mast extension motor 58 at its lower end to move an inner part 59 which carries the jib 55, as shown in FIGURES 1 and 8.
  • The apparatus preferably includes auxiliary lifting devices. For example, a pneumatically powered leg lifting and supporting device 60 is shown attached to the front of the seat in FIGURE 5. This device 60 can be inflated by the unit 41 via a hose connection 97 (shown in FIGURE 5) from a deflated condition, in which a cushion panel 61 hangs in front of the wheelchair, to a condition in which the panel 62 projects forwards level with the seat to lift and support the persons leg or legs during transfer, and during conveyance in the wheelchair. The device 60 can be removed and stowed in the storage 47.
  • The device 60 is particularly useful for supporting a person so that the person's legs are not bent, and for such persons the larger slider 11A indicated in broken lines in FIGURE 6 is preferably employed.
  • An auxiliary lifting device 63 is shown in FIGURES 9 to 11, which comprises three superimposed bags 64, 65 and 66 secured together. Each bag contains internal flexible links, e.g. may be made of a "drop-thread" material, to connect the upper and lower panels internally, so as to keep them parallel by limiting the vertical separation thereof when the bag is inflated; and each bag is provided with a respective inflation hose 67. The device 63 is, in this embodiment, pneumatically inflated via a pressure sensitive control unit 68 (FIGURE 11) which is arranged so that the bags are inflated sequentially and automatically when it is energised electrically and supplied with compressed air as hereinafter described.
  • The bags are dimensioned so that, when fully inflated, the overall height of the device 63 is slightly greater than the height of the seat 31 in its lowermost condition. The device 63 when deflated is thin, flexible and can be folded or rolled up and stowed in the storage 47 together with the control unit 68.
  • Referring to FIGURE 9, the device 63 is intended to be inserted, together with the slider 11, under a person who is unable to get up from a floor. Insertion may well only require the person to be rolled or to be rocked so that the person's hips are raised slightly, without requiring the person to be lifted bodily. If required a further slider 11 may be interposed between the device 63 and the floor. When the person is seated on the device 63, the wheelchair 30A is brought alongside (or the person and device are slid on the further slider to alongside the wheelchair), the proximal armrest is raised to release the flank panel (FIGURE 9). The device 63 is inflated and prior to or during inflation the flank panel is inserted between the device and the slider, so as to bridge the space between the seat and the device as shown in FIGURE 10. The cable 15 is then run across the seat from the other side and connected to the slider before the winch is actuated to draw the slider (and person thereon) onto the lowered seat.
  • Referring to FIGURES 11 and 12, the control unit 68 provides connections 69 for the three hoses 67, and has an input hose 70 and electrical lead 71 for connecting the unit to the power supply and compressor unit 41 to receive compressed air and an electrical supply. The unit 68 has internally three solenoid actuated valves 72, 73 and 74 and three pressure sensitive switching arrangements (represented in FIGURE 12 as three pressure sensitive switches 75, 76 and 77). When pressure is first supplied to the unit and the latter is electrically energised, switch 75 energises the valve 72 which opens to supply compressed air to the bottom bag 64, and valves 73 and 74 remain closed. When the bag 64 is inflated to a predetermined pressure, switch 75 responds to de-energise (and thus close) valve 72 to energise switch 76 via which valve 73 is opened for inflating the middle bag 65 until it reaches a predetermined pressure at which the switch 76 responds to de-energise valve 73 and energise valve 74 via switch 77 for inflating the top bag 66. When the top bag is inflated to a predetermined pressure at which switch 77 responds to de-energise valve 74, inflation of the device is automatically halted, and the device is held inflated by the closed valves. The person operating the apparatus is free, during inflation of the device, to attend the person being lifted. The unit 68 may have an internal electrical power supply and energisation switch as indicated in broken lines in FIGURE 12.
  • The switching arrangements have considerable hysteresis, e.g. the said predetermined pressure is considerably higher than the pressure at which the switches revert to their normal (unpressurised) conditions. The device is deflatable by disconnection of the hoses 67 after the person has been transferred to the wheelchair (or other support).
  • Referring to FIGURES 13 and 14, the various lifting means 39 and lifting devices 60, 63, the winch motor 12, (optionally also the gear release mechanism), the mast extension motor 58 and the worm motor 27 are controllable by a control system (FIGURE 14) including a remote hand control unit 80 and controls (FIGURES 13 and 14) in the compressor and power unit 41.
  • The unit 41 has at least two, and preferably three independent compressed air outlets 78. One of the outlets is connected by a pipe (not shown) in a flexible guide 84 (FIGURE 3 only) to the lifting means 39, and two further outlets are connected by pipes 85 (via the guide 84) to auxiliary compressed air output connectors 86 and 87 under the seat 31 as shown in FIGURE 3. Each outlet is controlled by a respective solenoid actuated valve V1, V2 or V3, which valves and a dump or depressurisation valve VD are connected to a common supply line from a compressor 79. In the simplified circuit shown in FIGURE 13, each of V1, V2 or V3 is controlled from a respective switch S1, S2 or S3 on the hand unit 80. Each switch has an inflate or "up" position, an "off" position and a deflate or "down" position. In the "up" posit ion the motor 81 driving the compressor is switched on via relay M1 and the respective valve is opened via relays shown in FIGURE 13. In the "down" position the switch opens the respective valve and the dump valve VD but does not energise the motor 81. A safety pressure switch SP isolates the motor 81 if a predetermined safety pressure is exceeded in the common supply line.
  • Referring to FIGURE 14, the unit 41 includes a controller 82 which includes relays (not shown) for controlling the electrical power supply to the winch motor 12, the worm motor 27, and the mast motor 58, as well as the relays shown in FIGURE 13, and, if provided, for actuating the winch release mechanism, as well as the relays shown in FIGURE 13 for controlling the valves V1, V2, V3 and VD, and circuitry (not shown) for energising auxiliary electrical outlets 83 (also shown under the seat 31 in FIGURE 3).
  • The hand control unit 80 is shown in more detail in FIGURE 14 and comprises several push-button switches numbered 1 to 8 in the figure and a function change switch 84 having stable positions A and B.
  • The switches control the functions of the apparatus, e.g. as listed in the following table. BUTTON NO. FUNCTION A FUNCTION B 1 Raise seat Raise seat 2 Lower seat Lower seat 3 Winch in Winch in 4 Winch out Winch out 5 Jib extend Inflate ancillary 1 6 Jib retract Deflate ancillary 1 7 Jib left Inflate ancillary 2 8 Jib right Deflate ancillary 2
  • The "winch out" function either reverses the winch motor or releases the winch to enable cable to be unwound from the drum.
  • "Ancillary 1" will usually be the device 60 when connected to connector 86, and "Ancillary 2" will usually be the device 63 when connected to connector 87 via the unit 68 and the hose 70 and lead 71.
  • The invention is not confined to details of the foregoing examples and it includes within its scope mechanical and functional equivalents and variants of the apparatus disclosed. Such variants are encompassed within the scope of the invention.
  • Further, the first embodiment of the apparatus may be adapted for use on a bed or trolley, such as the bed 24A shown in FIGURES 15 and 16, by providing on the bed a mast and jib assembly 50A. In this assembly 50A a mounting 93 is secured to the bed frame 23 to secure (preferably releasably) the assembly to the frame; and for convenience the rack 53 is inverted to extend below the mast pivot axis and the worm 54 is relocated onto a lower extension of the mast 52. The assembly 50A is otherwise similar to form and function to the assembly 50 hereinbefore described.
  • Also, it will be readily appreciated that in the assembly 50A the mast may be, but need not be, telescopically extendable, but it may be advantageous to make the jib telescopically extendable and to provide a motor equivalent to the motor 58 at one end of the jib. Additionally the winch 10 may be located on the jib 55 instead of the mast, e.g. at the free end of the jib as shown in FIGURE 17, the pulleys 56 and 57 of the guide means being retained for relocation of the cable for operation as shown in FIGURE 8 and FIGURE 15.
  • It will be readily appreciated that the embodiments described are by way of example only, and that the invention includes and provides apparatus for transferring persons incorporating any suitable combination of parts, equipment and functional means taken selectively from any plurality of the embodiments. For example, the winch may be transferable and relocatable in a plurality of positions e.g. as shown in FIGURE 18 in which the free end of the jib 55 provides a first socket mounting or mounting socket 22 for receiving a post 21 of the winch 10 for use in transverse transfer, and the mast 52 (or the platform, seat, chassis or bed frame) provides an alternative socket mounting or mounting socket 22 for use in longitudinal or rearwards transfer. The socket mountings 22 are preferably provided with fasteners, such as the fasteners 96 shown in FIGURE 18 to retain the winch posts 21 in the socket mountings.
  • Further, the assembly 50A could be secured to the end frame member 94 of a trolley such as the trolley 95 shown in FIGURE 16, instead of to a bed or even a chair or other support.
  • The terms and expressions used herein are by way of example, and include within their scope equivalents, synonyms and generic terms.
  • The invention further provides and includes a method or apparatus comprising any novel step, part or feature, or combination thereof disclosed herein or in the accompanying drawings.

Claims (16)

  1. A method of transferring a disabled person from a first supporting surface to a second supporting surface comprising the steps of:-
    (a) locating a winch cable to extend across the second supporting surface to the first supporting surface, and inserting a flexible slider between said person and the first supporting surface;
    (b) connecting said winch cable to one margin of the slider;
    (c) actuating a winch to apply tension to the cable to drag the slider from the first to the second surface carrying said person therewith;
    and characterised in that prior to step (a) a mast assembly, which is pivotally mounted on a support on which one of said supporting surfaces is provided, is positioned so that the cable can be extended from the mast assembly towards that edge of the second supporting surface which is remote from the first supporting surface.
  2. A method as claimed in Claim 1 comprising the subsequent steps of adjusting the position of the mast assembly, relocating the winch cable to extend across the first supporting surface to the second supporting and reattaching the cable to the opposite margin of the slider; and actuating the winch to apply tension to the cable to drag the slider back onto the first supporting surface.
  3. Apparatus for moving disabled persons, comprising a cable winch (10) secured, or adapted to be secured to or adjacent to a support (24:30:30A) so that a cable (15) of the winch (10) can be extended across a platform (25:31) provided on the support for connection to a slider (11) which can be inserted between a disabled person and a surface on which said person is supported, and a connector (20) to releasably connect an end of the slider to the cable so that operation of the winch drags said slider across said surface and onto said platform to transfer the person from the surface to the platform, and characterised in that the winch is carried by a mast assembly (50) which is pivotally connected to said support (24:30:30A) so as to be movable to vary the direction of pull of the cable.
  4. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 3 wherein the mast assembly comprises a mast (52) and a jib (55) extending from a free end of the mast, the mast being pivotally movable to swing the jib over the platform (25:31) from one side of the platform to the other side of the platform, and the cable (15) being extendable from and retractable to a free end of the jib.
  5. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 4 wherein the winch (10) is fixedly or removably mounted on the jib (55), or wherein the winch (10) is mounted on the mast (52) and at least the free end of the jib is provided with cable guide means (56).
  6. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 4 wherein the mast (52) and/or the jib (55) is or are extendable.
  7. Apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 3 to 6 wherein the support (30A) includes lifting means (39) to raise and lower the platform (31).
  8. Apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 3 to 7 wherein the winch (10) is electrically driven, remotely controllable, and operated from a low voltage DC supply provided by a rechargeable unit (41).
  9. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 8 as appended to Claim 7 wherein the rechargeable unit (41) includes or powers a compressor, and the lifting means (39) is powered by compressed air from the compressor.
  10. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 9 wherein a remote control unit (80) is provided to selectively energise said lifting means (39), said winch (10) and a motor (27) or motors (27,58) for moving the mast assembly.
  11. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 9 or 10 further comprising an auxiliary lifting device (63) operable by compressed air from the compressor, wherein the lifting device (63), when deflated, is sufficiently flexible and thin to be slid or eased under a disabled person, and which lifting device (63) provides sufficient lift to raise the uppermost surface of the device approximately to the level of the platform (31) in its lowermost condition.
  12. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 11 wherein the auxiliary lifting device comprises a plurality of pneumatically inflatable bags (64,65,66) secured one on top of the other, each bag including internal connection means to limit separation of an upper panel from a lower panel of the bag.
  13. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 12 further including a pressure sensitive control unit (68) constructed and arranged to receive a single compressed air supply (70) and to distribute the compressed air sequentially to a plurality of outlets (69) which, in use, are connected to the bags (64,65,66), so that, starting with the lowermost, each bag is inflated in turn to a predetermined pressure and is pneumatically isolated from the supply before inflation of the next above bag commences.
  14. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 3 in the form of a wheelchair comprising a wheeled chassis (40) and in which the platform is constructed as a seat (31), the apparatus further comprising a power operated leg support device (60) attachable to a front end of the seat and lifting means (39) to raise the lower the seat; wherein the mast assembly (50) is pivotally mounted at the rear of the seat for movement by a drive motor (27); and wherein a remote control unit (80) is provided to selectively energise said lifting means, the leg support device, said drive motor and said winch.
  15. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 15 wherein a backrest (38) and/or the chassis (40) of the wheelchair provides stowage (47).
  16. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 14 or 15 wherein guide means (46) for guiding the cable is provided adjacent to the seat (31).
EP95907104A 1994-02-11 1995-02-03 Method and apparatus for moving disabled persons Expired - Lifetime EP0693916B1 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB9402656A GB9402656D0 (en) 1994-02-11 1994-02-11 Apparatus for moving disabled persons
GB9402656 1994-02-11
PCT/GB1995/000221 WO1995021600A1 (en) 1994-02-11 1995-02-03 Apparatus for moving disabled persons

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
EP0693916A1 EP0693916A1 (en) 1996-01-31
EP0693916B1 true EP0693916B1 (en) 2000-05-03

Family

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EP95907104A Expired - Lifetime EP0693916B1 (en) 1994-02-11 1995-02-03 Method and apparatus for moving disabled persons

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US (1) US5651149A (en)
EP (1) EP0693916B1 (en)
AU (1) AU1543695A (en)
CA (1) CA2158835A1 (en)
DE (2) DE69516592D1 (en)
GB (2) GB9402656D0 (en)
WO (1) WO1995021600A1 (en)

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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
EP0693916A1 (en) 1996-01-31
GB9402656D0 (en) 1994-04-06
WO1995021600A1 (en) 1995-08-17
DE69516592T2 (en) 2000-09-07
CA2158835A1 (en) 1995-08-17
AU1543695A (en) 1995-08-29
GB2291801A (en) 1996-02-07
GB9520563D0 (en) 1995-12-13
GB2291801B (en) 1997-12-10
US5651149A (en) 1997-07-29
DE69516592D1 (en) 2000-06-08

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